Illinois lawmaker stresses importance of marijuana bills
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) — A lawmaker from central Illinois stressed the importance of efforts to legalize recreational marijuana during a community forum, saying the industry could drive economic growth.
Democratic Rep. Carol Ammons of Urbana was one of the speakers during a panel discussion Monday about legalizing recreational cannabis, The News-Gazette reports .
“It would help to grow microbusinesses in the community,” she said. “It is important that we pass a bill that produces equity businesses.”
Ammons, who has studied the regulation and taxation of marijuana since 2004, said revenue from taxing marijuana could be reinvested and used to improve communities.
“This is one of the most pressing things that will happen in my legislative career,” Ammons said.
Democratic Sen. Heather Steans of Chicago, who sponsored a bill that would allow those age 21 and older to possess up to 30 grams of cannabis, also spoke at the event.
“It would allow households to grow up to five plants, but we are considering whether that should only be for medical patients at home. Law enforcement has concerns about how you enforce the home grow,” Steans said.
Steans’ bill maintains that public consumption and driving under the influence of cannabis is illegal. The bill also allows landlords to adopt zero-tolerance policies.
Democratic Sen. Scott Bennett of Champaign said he’d like to see a bill that legalizes recreational marijuana, but said he wants to highlight the importance of safety and education.
“We have to recognize that education is important,” he said. “We have to educate the public about when it is safe and when it is not safe.”
Information from: The News-Gazette, http://www.news-gazette.com